Thanksgiving Parades
Thanksgiving parade Joseph Kaczmarek/AP

Handlers walk The Turkey balloon down the Benjamin Franklin Parkway, in Philadelphia, during the 97th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade, Thursday, Nov. 24, 2016.

November 16, 2017

Guide to 98th Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia

When does it start, who are the special guests and more

The oldest Thanksgiving parade in the country is almost 100. This November, the 98th Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade will take place.

For many, standing outside to watch the giant balloons and colorful floats pass by is a family tradition. Others watch on TV from home, while preparing their Thanksgiving feasts.

Below we've created your go-to guide for this year's parade.

Need-To-Know

• Thursday, Nov. 23
• Beginning at 8:30 a.m. at 20th Street and JFK Boulevard
• Majority of the parade takes place on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway
• Ends at noon at the Philadelphia Museum of Art
• Follows a 1.4-mile parade route
• Free to attend
• Stand to watch the parade or bring a blanket or lawn chair


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The 2017 Parade Zone

The Parade Zone is a family-friendly festival at Eakins Oval. There will be free coffee samples, a photo booth, face painting, dance performances, balloon sculpture-making and giveaways.

Those looking for other spots to watch the parade should check out Visit Philly's interactive parade route map, which highlights the best places to cheer on the floats and balloons.

Floats & Balloons

Look for the "Disney Friends Gazebo" float, Daniel Tiger balloon, Bugs Bunny balloon, "Freedom Rings" float, Strawberry Shortcake balloon and more colorful floats and giant character balloons.

Special Guests

Philadelphia's Thanksgiving Day Parade boasts a large lineup of special guests each year. Attendees can expect to see musical guests, pageant winners, Disney characters and Santa Claus every Thanksgiving Day.

Below are a few of the most notable special guests attending this year.

• "Good Morning America" anchor Lara Spencer
• "American Idol" stars Melinda Doolittle and Ruben Studdard
• "The Voice" stars Josh Gallagher and Billy Gilman
• Cast of Walnut Street Theatre's "Annie"
• Cast of "Waitress"
• Cast of "Les Miserables"
• Cast of "Aladdin"
• Cast of "The Color Purple"
• Spider-Man and Iron Man from Marvel Universe LIVE!
• Disney’s Moana from the show "Disney On Ice presents Dare To Dream"
• Garrison Carida (a Star Wars cosplay troupe)
• Eagles cheerleaders
• The Pennsylvania Ballet

Of course, there will also be marching bands, dancers, choirs and other performers to look out for on the parade route, too.

Parking

No parking will be in effect beginning Wednesday, Nov. 22 for the following:

• JFK Boulevard from 19th Street to 30th Street (both sides of street)
•20th Street, from Market to the Parkway
•Arch Street, between 19th and 22nd streets
•Race Street, between 16th Street and 17th Street
•17th Street, from Vine Street to Race Street
•Eastbound lanes of Vine Street, from 15th Street to 17th Street
•Market Street, from 19th to 21st, will be closed from 4 a.m. to 11 a.m. on parade day

Metered street parking is free on Thanksgiving.

Watch on TV

6ABC will broadcast the parade live from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Those watching on TV have a chance to win prizes. Look for keywords to text and win. 

Prizes include free Dunkin' Donuts coffee for a year, Eagles tickets and a trip to St. Pete Beach in Florida.